Mushfiqur Rahim might not be the best wicketkeeper-batsman in history, but he did something against Zimbabwe on Monday that would make any player of this particular category proud.
Mushfiq became the first wicketkeeper-batsman in cricket to score two double hundreds in Tests as he made an unbeaten 219 off 421 balls to put Bangladesh in a strong position in the second Test against the visitors.
Thanks, largely to Mushfiq’s innings, Bangladesh managed to declare their first innings at 522-7 before the home side reduced Zimbabwe to 25-1 at stumps on the second day.
Needing a victory to square off the two-Test series, Bangladesh declared the innings sooner than it was anticipated, which perhaps denied Mushfiq a few other feats.
Taijul Islam did not allow Bangladesh to regret the decision, removing Hamilton Masakadza for 14 after Ariful Haque earlier dropped the opener off debutant pacer Khaled Ahmed.
Mushfiq earlier dominated with bat, pulling leg-spinner Brendon Mavuta for a single at square leg after the tea break to complete his second double hundred in Test- the first by any cricketer in 2018.
A single off Sean Williams soon took him past Sakib al Hasan’s 217 against New Zealand at Wellington last year, making it the highest ever Test innings for a Bangladeshi.
‘It was my first hundred in Mirpur, and I was thinking about it when I had reached 70-80 yesterday. Most players have a great record in their home venue. We are 1-0 down and the way they were bowling, I think my celebration was an expression of my mindset,’ Mushfiq said explaining his emotional celebration after achieving the feat.
Skipper Mahmudllah was perhaps waiting for him to overtake Sakib’s record as he called back the batsmen almost immediately, which also ended Mushfiq’s record eighth wicket stand with Mehedi Hasan at 144.
Mehedi was on course to his maiden Test hundred before the declaration came that left him content with 68 not out, his second half-century in Test and career best as well.
The record partnership, which surpassed Mushfiq and Naeem Islam’s 113 against England in 2013, came after Kyle Jarvis threatened to wrap up Bangladesh’s innings rather quickly with his double strike in the post-lunch session.
Resuming on 303-5, Bangladesh approached circumspectly on second day, scoring just 22 runs in the first hour before adding 40 in the next 60 minutes to go for lunch with 365-5.
Mushfiq was more cautious than his overnight partner Mahmudullah as he added only four runs to his overnight 111 in the first hour and took as many as 56 balls to hit his first boundary on the day.
Jarvis struck in the second over after the lunch, ending his 73-run stand with Mahmudllah, who edged a seemingly harmless delivery behind the stumps to get dismissed for 36.
Jarvis, who finished with 5-71, completed his third five-wicket haul by picking the wicket of Ariful Haque for four in the same spell, but after that it was completely Mushfiq show.
With Zimbabwe’s all three spinners looking innocuous the visitors badly missed pace bowler Tendai Chatara, who had to be taken off by a stretcher after damaging his hamstring in the morning.
Jarvis apart, Chatara, who was unlikely to take any further part in the game, had been their best bowler in the innings giving away just 34 runs in his 22.2 overs for a wicket.
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